The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

  • Sir, I have very little to say on behalf of the core participant victims. The starting point, as I said last week, is that no one, certainly not the victims themselves, wishes to risk the prosecution succeeding or hinder any investigations, far from it.

    A number of my clients will be giving evidence during part one, module one, about the extent and the manner of what happened to them in terms of the unlawful accessing of their voicemails and other private information. The types of interceptions they suffered and the number of interceptions they suffered and so on, and the effect on them as a result.

  • That's precisely the evidence that I expect them to be giving.

  • I would be right in saying that they won't be in a position evidentially to name names or identify who they say was responsible specifically or generally.

  • Sir, their evidence is at a micro level, but not in terms of naming names. Naming names is different, I understand that.

  • Of course you'll be aware that there are a considerable number of matters already in the public domain, not just about the types of interception, but also the level of knowledge and involvement of those at high levels within the newspaper industry. That's already in the public domain, at least in general, rather than specific terms.

    As I say, no one is naming names, and indeed, sir, as you will appreciate, in the civil litigation before Mr Justice Vos, the use of cyphers for the names of those potentially involved is commonplace, and it's a practice which, sir, no doubt you will adopt.

  • That's what I have rather suggested to Mr Garnham earlier this morning.

  • Sir, yes, exactly. But it's artificial, in my submission, to ignore the reality of what is already in the public domain, because, put bluntly, the question of whether this was simply checks and balances which weren't observed in relation to a number of very junior journalists -- thankfully the fantasy of one rogue journalist has since been put to bed -- or whether rather this was a deliberate and systematic employment or encouragement at the highest levels of unlawful activities in order to obtain stories about private lives of individuals must be relevant, sir, in my respectful submission for you to decide when determining the true and unvarnished state of the culture, practice and ethics of the media, and relevant, we say, to the recommendations you must make.

  • Whilst I understand the macro and the micro level, we say it's rather a question of who did what and to whom, that might be the better way of looking at it, if I can put it that way.

  • The only phrase that I think I might cavil with in what you've just said are the words, "At the highest level", because deliberate and systematic might be capable of inference from length and breadth. In other words, the inference that it can't be --

  • -- one or two youngsters anxious to make a good impression --

  • -- might be, and indeed I will know the names of those persons who are linked in, even if the -- it's not their names that matter, it's their length of service, their position within the organisation.

  • And their levels of seniority.

  • That's the point. Without necessarily putting that into the public domain, because it's simply a question of linking -- I mean, they could be put in bands of seniority.

  • Sir, yes, bands of seniority.

  • I have no problem about that. I'm just looking for ways of making sure the picture is as clear as possible without doing anything that runs the risk of creating an argument that somebody may say, "Well, of course I can't possibly be fairly tried." Which I have no doubt is the very last thing your clients want.

  • The very last thing, indeed.

  • I understand that. My question to you is: having heard what I've put to Mr Garnham and debated with others, I deliberately went to Mr Caplan not because I wanted to welcome him back to the jurisdiction, but because he represented a media interest that wasn't News International. And then have worked my way through counsel accordingly, whether you felt or wanted to submit that I could not satisfactorily cope with my terms of reference by doing that which I have suggested.

  • Sir, I'm not suggesting that.

  • All right. Thank you very much.

  • Does anybody else want to say anything who has not had a chance to say anything?